With Liverpool confirming a deal to sign James Milner from Manchester City subject to a medical on their official site, it looks as though the Reds are making a move away from their recent transfer policy.
While Brendan Rodgers has found some success in bringing in promising young players in his reign at Anfield so far, such as Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic, it’s also arguable that many of these signings have not performed as well as they should have done.
Whether it is down to the individual players or the system is uncertain, but it definitely looks like Liverpool could struggle with a lack of more experienced heads around the side, especially with Steven Gerrard confirmed as joining LA Galaxy this summer, while Jamie Carragher retired from the game at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Milner is a move away from signing players for the future and gives the club what it needs right now – an older head with the experience of winning the big games and big trophies. In his five years at the Etihad Stadium, Milner played a key role in winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. Liverpool, meanwhile, have no trophies since their League Cup win in 2012.
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Of course, Milner has not always been a regular starter during his time with City, due to the immense competition for places in their expensively-assembled squad, but he has more than held his own in this difficult environment, and has arguably emerged as one of the few players to impress at the end of the 2014/15 season, becoming a starter more often in a number of different roles and contributing eight goals and seven assists in all, as stated on WhoScored.com.
It could be that Milner would struggle playing more regularly, as one would expect at Liverpool, with the 29-year-old making just 18 starts in the league this season, but equally there’s a case that he should have been playing more and would benefit from more opportunities with the Reds, whose talented squad just lacks a bit of leadership. With an ageing Gerrard unable to play as often in his final year on Merseyside, a midfielder with similar work-rate, passing range and an eye for goal playing more often looks absolutely ideal for both sides.
This early deal looks potentially like one of the bargains of the summer, and a sign of where Liverpool might be going as they look to bounce back next season.